Take knowledge seriously

2018-09-12 06:00
Martijn Aslander

Martijn Aslander

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Over the past 40 years our workforce has transcended from doing labour with their hands to working with their brains.

We do not have the slightest clue what knowledge work is and that is an enormous problem.

Most of today’s workforce is knowledge workers and for the past 25 years, they have been using computers to do their work.

Today, it has extended to tablets and smartphones.

Unfortunately, in most cases, they are just fooling around, trying to make sense of all the possibilities of these devices and the software and incorporate it into their workflow.

As a matter of fact, most of these people are using their computers as a modern typewriter, using only a small portion of the true power of what these powerful devices can offer.

It is bizarre that training and developing digital skills are nowhere on the strategic agenda of human resource management teams and board members.

If the biggest cost in any organisation is salaries, it is strange that they do not get how much time, money and talent they are wasting every day. This imply neglecting the era of knowledge workers.

I think there is a bigger issue than just neglecting digital skills.

It is my belief that all organisational models and insights were developed in a time when people worked with their hands.

In that case, working nine to five makes sense, also exchanging time for money, which is still the dominant payment system worldwide.

But if you work with your head most of the time, it does not make sense.

We just never really considered that working with your brain is something totally different and needs a different approach. Research shows that one third of the people are more sharp, keen and awake at 8 pm than at 8 am.

Roughly 25% of our energy is being consumed by our brains.

So, from a biochemical point of view, it would be wise to figure out how to deal smartly. In case of matters of the mind, the mind is supposed to juggle with snippets of know­ledge, information and ideas.

Processing that data mentally to solve problems, creating opportunities and going after big challenges.

A lot of people have burn-out problems.

Burn-out means that the brain can not function anymore and that the willpower muscle is depleted by wrongfully using the energy reserves of the brain.

Most of the time this is because superiors had no idea that forcing employees to do their jobs in a specific way instead of trusting them to find their own approach, literally costs a lot of brainpower.

Insights like these are really being taken into consideration when it comes to managing organisations.

As a knowledge worker, we can not work for eight straight hours a day. We can pretend we do and we are all doing it, but we are fooling ourselves.

If you want your organisation to be ready for the upcoming disruptive ages, I think the best thing you can do is take knowledge work and its circumstances very serious.

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